24. Bolivia: Pukacapas

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Bolivia a country at the heart of South America, once part of the ancient Inca Empire. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire began in 1524, and was mostly completed by 1533. The place we now call Bolivia was known as “Upper Peru”, and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. The locals were enslaved by the Spanish and worked in the silver, tin and salt mines. So yes the Bolivians have been through a lot, and they haven’t recovered. Bolivia is still one of the poorest countries in South America, so that’s why a lot of Bolivians immigrate to neighbouring countries like Argentina.

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So here we go some fun facts about Bolivia:

  • Bolivia got its name from Simon Bolivar, a leader in the Spanish American wars of Independence.
  • La Paz, the capital city of Bolivia is the world’s highest city, located at an elevation of 3,630 meters.
  • What do Bolivians do for fun? Fighting cholitas is the Bolivan’s version of Mexican lucha libre, a form of free fighting somewhere between passion-play, a wrestling match and bedlam. Bolivians crowd around the wrestling ring to watch female cholitas dressed in traditional clothing slam each other down and swing each other by their pig tails. (Okaaayy well this is slightly odd to say the least)
  • The ‘so-so’ gesture (rocking your hand from side to side with palm down) means ‘no’ in Bolivia.
  • It is impolite to show up on time to a social occasion. Guests are expected to be 15 to 30 minutes late for dinner or parties.

Here is a video of the cholitas fighting:

So here is the recipe, this week i made pukacapas, a bolivian pastry.

Schermafbeelding 2014-09-24 om 15.09.00

Ingredients: 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp salt, 1/3 c butter, cold and cut into small cubes, 2 eggs, 1/3 cups milk, 1 egg, beaten (for brushing on top) For the filling: 1 large onion, chopped, 1 red jalapeño minced, 1 green jalapeño minced, 1 tomato, chopped, 1 green onion chopped, 2 tbsp parsley chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, ½ c green olives chopped, ¼ c vegetable oil, 3 c queso fresco crumbled

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Stir all filling ingredients except queso fresco into the hot oil. Sauté about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside. To make the dough, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Work cold cubes of butter into the dry mixture fully incorporated (you should see only pea-sized or smaller butter chunks). Stir in milk and eggs, mixing just until dough is smooth. It should be tacky enough for two separate pieces to stick to each other, but not so sticky that it can’t be rolled. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll it as thin as possible, then cut into circular shapes (I used a jar lid for this). To assemble pukacapas, drop filling by the teaspoon into the middle of a dough round, leaving some space around the edge. Cover with a second dough round and pinch the edges of both rounds together, moistening with a few drops of water if necessary. Poke a few holes in the top of each pastry to vent (a fork or toothpick will get the job done), then beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of all the pukacapas. Bake at 200 for 20 minutes, or until just golden.
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